The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the apex body of broadcasters, stands indomitably with the Government of India in its fight against Covid -19 outbreak. While broadcasters, voluntarily seizing initiative, have been advising, educating and informing the public of the various measures taken by the Government of India to fight the pandemic and urging them to stay ‘home’ and ‘safe’, it is deeply saddened by the Congress Parliamentary Party, Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi’s call to the Hon’ble Prime Minister to put an end to all advertisements by the various state Governments and PSU’s (Public Sector Enterprises) for a period of two years.
Like other sectors which have been economically impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak, the media and Broadcasting industry cannot claim immunity. In these testing times, any decision by the Government to curtail budgetary allocation to advertisements carried out by various channels in lieu of government advertising will sound the death knell for the sector and particularly so, for the regional and smaller channels whose overwhelming dependence on Government ads cannot be both overstated and undermined. With the closure of cinemas, the complete cessation of production of films and television shows, cancellations of live sporting events and scheduled advertisements and delays in payments by advertising agencies and distribution platform operators, the M&E sector is already facing the brunt of the slowdown. Advertisement bookings have nosedived by ~50%.
IBF in a statement says, ‘under such a scenario, we will resist any such move by the government to undercut revenue for government advertising as many of our member channels will lose substantial revenues and will be compelled to shut down resulting in massive job losses. At this critical moment when the nation stands united to deal with the aftermath of Covid-19 outbreak, we request all parties to give a thought for the media sector which is known for its neutrality and objectivity’. IBF added ‘a lot of Government ads relate to social messages concerning health, education, etc. TV still remains the primary mode of disseminating these messages to the citizens of India and stopping these ads is not in public interest.’ BCS Bureau